AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
- Boeing outsourced some of its 737 Max testing and development to low-paid temp workers, Bloomberg reported.
- Longtime engineers said it was a cost-cutting tactic.
- They said the code was "not done correctly" by the low-paid, outside engineers.
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As the Department of Justice reportedly expands the scope of its investigation into Boeing from the 737 Max to the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing engineers are reporting another miscalculation inside the beleaguered airline company.
Bloomberg’s Peter Robison reported on June 28 that Boeing and its suppliers outsourced some of its 737 Max software development and testing to temporary workers. These temp workers, some of whom were recent college graduates, were employees or contract workers for Indian tech firms HCL Technologies and Cyient Ltd.
Some of the testers and developers made as little as $9, the longtime engineers told Bloomberg. Former Boeing flight controls engineer Rick Ludtke said the move to outsource was centered on cost-cutting.
"Boeing was doing all kinds of things, everything you can imagine, to reduce cost, including moving work from Puget Sound, because we’d become very expensive here," Ludtke told Bloomberg. "All that’s very understandable if you think of it from a business perspective. Slowly over time it appears that’s eroded the ability for Puget Sound designers to design."
Faulty software on the Boeing 737 Max has seemingly contributed to two fatal crashes, which killed 346 people between October and March. The 737 Max was grounded around the world after the March crash, leading Boeing to a first-quarter loss of $1 billion.
Former Boeing software engineer Mark Rabin told Bloomberg that a manager said at an all-hands meeting that senior engineers were no longer required at the company.
"I was shocked that in a room full of a couple hundred mostly senior engineers we were being told that we weren’t needed," Rabin told Bloomberg.
However, Rabin said the code was often "not done correctly" and that a lot of "back and forth" was required to get the code accurate. The coders from HCL were working to specifications established from Boeing engineers.
A Boeing spokesperson told Bloomberg that safety is always the primary focus, including when working with outside partners.
"Boeing has many decades of experience working with supplier/partners around the world," the spokesman said. "Our primary focus is on always ensuring that our products and services are safe, of the highest quality and comply with all applicable regulations."
Read the entire report from Bloomberg here.
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